Am Fam Physician. 2005 Mar 15;71(6):1054.
▪ We won’t have a simple solution for the common cold any time soon, according to a recent CNN.com report. Researchers say the high number of viruses—approximately 200—that can potentially cause respiratory infection make it virtually impossible to find a universal cure. Now researchers are focusing on finding ways to stop the viruses from spreading, as well as easing the symptoms that afflict millions of Americans each year. In the meantime, living a healthy lifestyle (getting plenty of sleep and eating well) is the best way to stave off the sniffles, according to the report.
▪ Can anger management prevent stroke? In a case-crossover study published in Neurology, 200 stroke patients completed a questionnaire about their emotional state in the two hours before the onset of their stroke, as well as in the same time period the day before. Researchers found that odds ratios (ORs) were significantly higher in those who reported emotional stress, anger, or a sudden movement related to a startling event before their stroke. ORs were highest among those younger than 69 years.
▪ A new survey has found that saying “I do” is good for you. The New York Times reports that of about 125,000 participants in the National Center for Health Statistics survey who reported being in poor or fair condition, only 10.5 percent were married. Married couples were less likely to participate in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking and smoking, and had less stress than their unmarried counterparts. Participants who had been widowed (19.6 percent) were most likely to be in poor or fair health, according to the survey.
▪ Is citizenship hazardous to U.S. immigrants’ health? A study published recently in JAMA shows that only 8 percent of foreign-born persons living in the United States are obese on arrival. But after 15 years in the United States, 19 percent are obese—an increase of almost 140 percent. Researchers say the weight gain is likely attributable to the assimilation of immigrants to the high-fat foods and sedentary lifestyle more common in the United States. The obesity rate among foreign-born citizens is still lower than the U.S.-born rate of 22 percent. However, 57 percent of 15-year immigrants weigh more than their ideal weight (but are not necessarily obese), the same percentage as in U.S.-born citizens.
▪ There may not be a cure, but researchers have found new hope for relieving the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fish oil might help reduce inflammation of the bowels in persons with Crohn’s disease. Seventy-seven adults with Crohn’s disease participated in the study. One half of the participants took a fish oil supplement and antioxidants every day for 24 weeks while the other half took a placebo (olive oil) and antioxidants. Blood samples from those who took the fish oil showed fewer markers of inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are thought to provide the anti-inflammatory effect.
▪ Can the Internet make children safer in passenger vehicles? The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, with Partners for Child Passenger Safety, has created an interactive Web site where people can learn the proper way to protect children in vehicles. The Web site (www.chop.edu/carseat) contains a video demonstration of the proper way to install a car seat, as well as information on airbags and age-specific safety tips. This is vital information, the Partners for Child Passenger Safety says, because motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in U.S. children and 35 percent of children younger than nine years do not travel in appropriate restraints.
Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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